Polarization-free directional coupling of surface plasmon polaritons


Chen, J., Sun, C., Rong, K., Li, H. & Gong, Q. Polarization-free directional coupling of surface plasmon polaritons. Laser & Photonics Reviews 9, 419-426 (2015).
Polarization-free directional coupling of surface plasmon polaritons


Surface plasmon polaritons (SPPs) have sparked enormous interest on nanophotonics beyond the diffraction limit for their remarkable capabilities of subwavelength confinements and strong enhancements. Due to the inherent polarization sensitivity of the SPPs [transverse-magnetic (TM) polarization], it is a great challenge to couple the s-polarized free-space light to the SPPs. Here, an ultrasmall defect aperture (<(2)/2) is designed to directionally couple both the p- and s-polarized incident beams to the single SPP mode in a broad bandwidth, which is guided by a subwavelength plasmonic waveguide. Simulations show that hot spots emerge at the sharp corners of the defect aperture when the incident beams illuminate it from the back side. The strong radiative fields from the hot spots are directionally coupled to the SPP mode because of the symmetry breaking of the defect aperture. By adjusting the structural parameters, both the unidirectional and bidirectional SPP coupling from the two orthogonal linear-polarization incident beams are experimentally demonstrated. The polarization-free coupling of the SPPs is of importance in circuits for fully optical processing of information with a deep-subwavelength footprint.